Tuesday, October 11, 2011

New Music Tuesdays...Ryan Adam's Ashes & Fire

I've always liked Ryan Adam's sound.  Stranger's Almanac and Pneumonia by Whiskeytown  wasn't my introduction to Ryan Adams but I went back after his solo album Gold  came out in 2001 and discovered his past band plus another must hear solo album Heartbreaker which is full of great songs and even recorded banter about Morrissey songs. 
He is a solid songwriter and his prolific style should be a positive thing for us,I feel, and not something that I think has been used to make fun of him.   
Ashes & Fire is a slow burner with the pace set by Ryan's acoustic guitar.  Layers and melody make this a beautiful album.  Glyn Johns produced this album and his resume includes Beatles Let It Be, The Who Who's Next and Stones Exile on Main Street.  
"Invisible Riverside" apparently was the first song Ryan played for Glyn Johns which was a good choice. It's one of many highlights on this record. "Do I Wait" has a great electric guitar in the middle of the song while haunting keyboards provided by Benmont Tench of Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers floats in the background. Also nice electric guitar work on "Lucky Now." The record is released on PAX-AM Records which is a record label founded by Adams back in 2004 but Ashes & Fire is the first full album release on his label.

Glyn Johns & Ryan Adams in studio

Ryan has soaked up a lot of music over his years and has been able to mold it into his own quality. I saw Ryan on his Cold Roses tour and I'll have to say I wish I hadn't. His on stage antics really turned me off for a while even though I have always respected his musical talent. I have been reading that his marriage and years have given him a more mature perspective on himself and it shows.  This album is a thoughtful well crafted group of songs that are given to us by an authentic American songwriter and really that's all we need. 

The Showbiz Kids rating: 8 out of a possible 10

Mike Smith, The Showbiz Kids

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